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Types of bullying


Explanations > Behaviors > Bullying > Types of bullying

Systematic | Active | One-shot | Passive | Careless | See also


There are many types of bullying. Here is a brief set of categories:

Systematic bullying

A systematic bully is the worst kind. They pick a victim and work on them over a long period, enjoying the power they build over them as they destroy their victim's self-esteem.

Systematic bullies can be very subtle and sneaky and may get their dirty work done by others, while ensuring the victim knows who is in charge and that they are powerless to do anything about it.

Active bullying

Not as sustained as systematic bullying, the active bully nevertheless approaches life with a 'dog eat dog' mentality, where you are either a bully or a victim. If you are not superior and not a friend then you are a potential victim.

Active bullies lack the cruelty of the systematic bully, yet they still lack empathy and enjoy the sense of power that being a 'tough guy' brings. They look down on weak people and consider victims as deserving all that they get.

One-shot bullying

Bullying can happen as a momentary event. For example when a child (or adult) threatens another in order to achieve a specific outcome.

Passive bullying

A passive bully is one who lets others suffer, and perhaps enjoys the sense of superiority that this brings. Active bullies often have passive bullies as gang members. They actually do relatively little, although their presence can be threatening.

Passive bullies may be potential victims themselves, but prefer to keep out of the bully's sights.

Careless bullying

Adults in particular may 'unintentionally' bully psychologically due more to a lack of consideration than deliberate action. The victim feels bullied and dominated, yet the bully does not realize the effect they are having. When alerted to this, they are typically surprised, but soon apologetic (although they may still think it is a lot of fuss over nothing).

See also

Aggressive body language


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